Hawo’s Portraiture

It’s not that I closed off my heart, it’s just that I’ve gotten so used.

Sometimes in my life, I have felt discarded. Left behind. At times, it would happen at what seemed to be the most inconvenient moment, when both my ego and heart really couldn’t sustain another setback or disappointment. Just when I was starting to “get it” or “figure it out” (we’re always “figuring things out” or “working on thing”), I would feel the sting of disappointment.


Well, I have figured something out once and for all, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s the realization that, just because we have lost our way or been displaced from what we’ve known in the past, we are just as loveable and just as whole. A great jacket sitting in a lost and found is still a great jacket. A great person having a tough time is still a great person.


“Sometimes a man gets worn thin, on the brink of a break of an almost-there win.”

When the storms of life would roll in on me, I would find myself trying not to collapse too far inward, which seemed lonely. But I also didn’t quite have the energy to take a confident next step to relieve my isolated feeling.

What I discovered while writing was renewed energy in the understanding that I was not alone. I was worthy, always had been, and was no less so just because I felt “lost.”

“You’d be surprised if you’d just look around. You’d find me, find me at the lost and found.“

betam konjo
Wherever the winds of your life may blow you, your true north is always inside you. Even when you’re lost.

Dedication to Safia

Photography :: Joe Lukhovi


Laba Street Art Fest

Its Kampala, Uganda and its the Laba!

laba street fest

The show was amazing and the people full of energy. I wanted to post this images while in Uganda, but time was not on my side with the tight schedule of events I had on me. Above all, the travel in Uganda was worth it and i cannot shy away to say and thank all the wonderful people that hosted me while in this beautiful country.


But here are some of the images I thought might interest you the viewers across all the corners of the world.

drum beating

With its motto “Open Studio”, the LaBa ArtsFestival ’s seventh edition aim was to give visitors the opportunity for a look behind the scenes, in the art making process. The process of artistic production is important here, not just the finished product.

face piercing

But the creative bunch of around 60 individual artists were merely not working while the others can watch them, but engaged the public in their projects, designed just for the day.

fashion parade

The organizers added the element of the fashion parade that attracted a huge crowd of participants including the above models who chose to include the dog in the parade. A lot of glamour and passion for fashion.

dancing up

These men choose to have an installation of the big balls moving up and down in the air as they kept moving. Its an art group from the region of Kampala. I basically tried to understand their installation but somehow i got lost. Above all, the group impressed the people who came over.


Her performance was full of energy and moved the crowd to the top. I wish i had a better way of elaborating this but the image will do the talking for me.

say whatShe marveled and charmed the crowd all the way from the start to the end. Uganda has got talent indeed and this was only happening at the Laba street art festival.

lets take a moment

The music stage featured newcomers and some of Uganda’s finest artists of various music genres, adding on to the general diversity of the festival – Mackinnon Road which remained closed for the rest of the day was both dream, glamour and dance.

reggae queen

Her name is Efi and she is full of wonders and passion for her artistic gift. She was the Mcee as well as a musician who is full of determination.

over her

I love this photo. Not for because some awesome moment at a concert. It’s just a clean, sharp picture and that was really hard to get at the greatly crowded place that rarely allowed me to move around at the venue.

the end
The end of the show came, hours after midnight and it was time for me to say goodbye. I hope to photograph the next Laba street art festival and am more than excited to all the wonderful people I got to interact with. Blessings

Photos: Joe Lukhovi

Location: Kampala, Uganda

4th docfilm festival

Submissions are now open for the Kenyan film makers.

If you wish to submit a short film documentary for screening at the 4th Docfilm Festival between Friday 8th – Sunday 10th November 2013 please contact – editor@citizenseye.org with your details.

These should include:

Full contact details:
Film Title:
Any credits you wish noted on the program:

Please confirm you hold the rights to the film and are therefore able to screen it. We act in good faith when it comes to the screening of submitted short documentaries.


All submissions will be screened in venues across Leicester city centre.

Please submit on a DVD and provide a SAE if you wish it to be returned in the post to: John Coster, Festival Director, 4th Docfilm Festival, Apex House, 74-76 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1FB, United Kingdom.

John Coster
Festival Director

Literary photograph

I woke up this morning to heavy fog in Masaka town, during my international art residency in Uganda and the feeling was totally exciting. Felt like part of my life was starting all over again. Here are a couple of images i decided to take within a snap and share with the world about this feeling.

Landscape photography always brings a lot of adventures and wonderful sceneries around the world.

Landscape photography always brings a lot of adventures and wonderful sceneries around the world.

The sun was just minutes away from rising up and I felt the contrast of the clouds and the glowing sunlight would just make a perfect shot for the occasion.

Landscape photography means to capture the beautiful places that have been with out any doubt created by God.

Landscape photography means to capture the beautiful places that have been with out any doubt created by God.

Now this is always a difficult one and I’ve spent a good while trying to work out which images represent something about me rather than just about the things I have found or the light that I saw them in. This is a little strange as they aren’t always necessarily my ‘best’ photographs but I’ve added a little text to each one.

misty morning

Am motivated by an appreciation of the beauty of the natural environment and a desire to see it preserved.

Land may be desert, mountain, plain, ridge etc. For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces. Landscape photography is proposed to show special spaces within the world, sometimes enormous and never-ending, but other times tiny.

Photography ::  Joe Lukhovi

Camp Ndegeya

Hey, so my second day at Weaver bird community for arts welcomed me with some of the amazing scenaries that I got to meet. Am hoping to have a wonderful moment and stay in this wonderful town of Masaka in Uganda, as I work on shaping my photography.

my bodaboda is an art installation at camp ndegeya.

My bodaboda is an art installation at camp ndegeya.

Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven’t met, but I don’t want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there.
ndege ya akili
All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?” “Credit or debit?” “ant or art” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me.
My seating postion at the community arts village.

My seating postion at the community arts village.

I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be an ant, you know?
Photography:: Joe Lukhovi
Location:: Ndegeya village, Masaka- Uganda

Safe Spaces

Case of books

Jackie recreates a corner in the gallery as a library and makes it her own space while greatly engrossed in the book that’s caught her attention. So much so that she forgets the water that’s spilled on the floor amidst live electric wires. This area, which she calls her safe space, gets her in touch with her creative forces and gives her a sense of invisibility. This is a concept she visualized for a photo shoot with me for her upcoming project.

The state of mind

The state of rewarding minds into transformations.

Whether it’s a difficult experience that drives the artist or simply a mind that translates experiences in extraordinary ways, a thing that seems to bind many creatives is the inclination to outwardly express themselves however they feel fit.

In a world of art often filled with empty gestures, it would be easy to dismiss one’s behavior as nothing more than fulfilling the role of the eccentric artist. It’s a character the public has come to expect. But Jackie’s life and work are openly provocative and deeply meaningful.

She has constantly thrown her inner psyche wide open through the art she creates and unknowingly does. She sees herself first as a human being. It’s a label she is more comfortable with. “If I label myself as a woman, I limit myself, because there are things people consider women cannot do.” She is a being who literary made a blanket with the critical words: “I tell people to dream in colour and wake up to a blank canvas.” You start seeing the world in a different light.

Her upcoming collection of works explores the themes of the urban mind, books, libraries and the reading culture in Kenya. Jackie is not, of course, alone in this. The greatest artists across the world and throughout the ages have seen the world in a different way, using that vision to produce thought-provoking work.

More than any other artist in the Impressionist group, Jackie is fascinated by ideas and consciously bases her work on them.

More than any other artist in the Impressionist group, Jackie is fascinated by ideas and consciously bases her work on them.

Their ability to do this rests in their ability to tune into and use their creations in a very different way to most people. Artists are able to be honest about what they go through, to give their experiences a shape and a purpose. Individuals in more practical occupations, the lawyers and the teachers, don’t necessarily value the difficult or the trauma in the same way.

For such an artist, creation is their job. This means a greater sensitivity, a higher awareness of feelings, and the ability to turn ideas into provocative & fascinating works of art.

Photography: Joe Lukhovi

Performance artist, creative writer: Jackie Karuti

Peace train

Kenyans will soon go to the polls and elect their new president. The last time that happened in 2007, the balloting ignited deadly ethnic tensions. Weeks of violence left more than a 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of Kenyans left homeless.

kibera walls of peace

The ethnic tension was particularly toxic in the Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa in the heart of Nairobi. It is the focal point of rival ethnicity and unemployed youth. Hoping to avoid a repeat of that violence, a Brooklyn artist and educator Joe Bergner launched a project that uses graffiti art to encourage peace and unity against ethnicity and political groups. Its called Kibera walls for peace.  He engaged youth from Kibera Hamlets to paint peace murals around Kibera.

the peace train

They approached and worked with the local authorities at the Rift Valley railways to use the commuter trains as a canvas to spread peace messages and togetherness on the local commuter train. The train was a major target of the previous post election violence, especially the part that goes through Kibera.

inside the coach

It surely didn’t hurt that authorities at Rift Valley Railway recall what happened after the previous election, when mobs of youth literally tore up the train tracks that connect Kenya and Uganda and sold them for scrap metal.

martin luther king jnr spray

Rift Valley Railways has a lot of interest in keeping peace with the citizens in this election. So the idea of having graffiti artists come on board to spray the 10 coaches was an idea well received, since most of the Kibera dwellers use the commuter train to and from work. It’s their main means of transport. Many Kenyans use this train in the morning and evening for their daily hustle.

wangari mathaai

The train – one of the first to showcase officially authorized graffiti – travels through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera advertising peace. As an entirely new concept, the artists’ goal is to capture the attention of spectators as never before, prompting them to view it analytically during voting time.


A portrait of Martin Luther King Jnr and the Kenyan flag grace the last coach. The message reads from the front to the back and looks like a sentence that’s beautifully crafted. Tuwache ukabila…tuwache ubaguzi…tuishi kwa amani. Bankslave painted the Obama face.

Lets vote and above all lets uphold peace amongst ourselves.

Lets vote and above all lets uphold peace amongst ourselves.

As one narrates, “We have a lot of scars in our past and especially in the last election and there is a lot of hidden grudge that cannot be seen but we have to paint this train to encourage and promote tolerance. We have to put it in their face and let them know that its not all about tribes, killing and shedding blood.”

tuishi kwa amani

It’s a big message that reads to the people and relays the direct message of STOP! DON’T HURT US AGAIN! Lets bring peace to the society and embrace each other.

Residents of Kibera are both surprised and touched by seeing this commuter train that always looks so dreary turned into a rolling art gallery that was free and open to. It is a great gesture by these artists to bring something positive and up lifting leading up to the elections.

my kenya

Preventing a repeat of this crisis is the main objective. Bankslave, was born in Kibera and still lives there. He sees dozens of official billboards around the city promoting peace but says they don’t have the power to speak to Kibera youth and Kenyans at large like street art can.

Photography and text: Joe Lukhovi

Location: Nairobi Commuter Railways and Kibera railways